After outcry, Hedi Slimane U-turns on the Celine catwalk

After outcry, Hedi Slimane U-turns on the Celine catwalk
Hedi Slimane showed off his Fall/Winter 2019/2020 collection. AFP
Updated 02 March 2019

After outcry, Hedi Slimane U-turns on the Celine catwalk

After outcry, Hedi Slimane U-turns on the Celine catwalk

PARIS: Head designer Hedi Slimane turned his back on black Friday in one of the biggest about-turns in years on the Paris catwalk, as French-Algerian actress Leila Bekhti enjoyed a coveted front row seat at the show.

The actress wore a suave menswear suit to the show, complete with a skinny black tie and loafers. 

The superstar French designer, who is of Tunisian descent and is famed for his love of black, was dubbed the “Trump of fashion” after trashing the legacy of his much-loved feminist predecessor at Celine, Phoebe Philo, in his first women’s show for the brand in Octobe, AFP reported.

Rather than the too-cool-for-school night owls of his “Paris at night” debut, Slimane went all bourgeois as he tried to double back toward Celine’s more romantic roots.

His new cool gang are a glammy 1980s horsey set, with pleated riding skirts in earthy browns, greens and taupes worn with long shiny boots.

But the really big takeaway was the comeback of the culotte, with a whole cavalry charge of them galloping down the catwalk.

Surprising as that was, no one had predicted the return of silky pussy bow blouses worn under sensible coats and cardigans.

The man they once called the “Sultan of skinny” even got a few frilly blouses in too. All that was lacking was the pearls.

This embrace of romantic, comfortable country glamor, of the type that Hermes and others do rather well, left critics scratching their heads, with the New York Times’ Vanessa Friedman asking, “(The) joke’s on who?“

But for the fact that every model wore black sunglasses, it hardly looked like a Slimane show.

It also seemed strangely at odds with Slimane’s first media campaign for the house, which he released this week, featuring 17-year-old British model Hannah Motler.

Shot by Slimane itself, it was full of the dark rock ‘n’ roll glamor he is famous for.

Friedman, however, had no doubt that the oxblood shearling-edged thigh-high boots that Slimane teamed with jeans and camel coats and capes in the show were a winner.

“Betcha Celine is going to sell a lot of these boots,” she tweeted.

While there was some slight nods to the Philo’s legion of grieving followers — who have made her past Celine collections collector’s items — Slimane leapfrogged over her minimalism to go deep into the brand’s archives in search of inspiration.

His slash and burn attitude to the brand — getting rid of the French accent on its logo, calling his first show “Celine 01” as if the 70 years before his arrival at the label had not existed, and erasing Philo’s clothes from the label’s Instagram account, irritated many.

His first collection took an unprecedented kicking from English-speaking critics in particular, with social media spats between his defenders — the Slimaniacs — and Philo supporters, the Philophiles.

Slimane — who has a record of turning labels into cash cows — has form in ruffling feathers. He dropped the Yves from Saint Laurent when he took over at the iconic house in 2012.

Clap arrives in Dubai from Beirut

Clap arrives in Dubai from Beirut
Updated 22 January 2021

Clap arrives in Dubai from Beirut

Clap arrives in Dubai from Beirut
  • The popular upscale Japanese restaurant gets sleek new venue in DIFC

DUBAI: A quick glance through the warmly lit wooden archway that constitutes the entrance of Clap Dubai and guests might think they have arrived at a quirky, though high-end, bookstore.

Facing the elevator is a chaise longue made entirely of used paperback books save for its comfy musk-colored cushion top.

Behind it are rows of varied sake glasses, positioned as if they were prized exhibits. In the reception area on the second floor, books form the base of the reservation desk over which hangs a super-sized chandelier made of 2,100 toys — and these are just a few of the restaurant’s awe-inspiring design elements.

Walk through a short illuminated corridor and Clap Dubai, which opened in Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) in December, extends across a sprawling rooftop terrace with stunning views across Dubai’s downtown skyline.

The restaurant is divided into four sections — the indoor dining area, the terrace, the bar, and ‘Ongaku,’ which means “music” in Japanese and is a separate bar area with a live DJ. (Supplied)

The restaurant is divided into four sections — the indoor dining area, the terrace, the bar, and ‘Ongaku,’ which means “music” in Japanese and is a separate bar area with a live DJ.

Each flows seamlessly into the next. In the indoor dining area guests who sit close enough can peer into Clap’s open kitchen where chefs prepare traditional Japanese dishes, while overhead is a suspended conveyer belt carrying toys and figurines, adding another playful touch to the otherwise refined venue, which is packed with solid stone and dark wood, both elements that dominate traditional Japanese architecture.

This is a stone bowl with Japanese Wagyu beef served at Clap Dubai. (Supplied)

In the weeks since its opening, Clap Dubai has quickly become one of the most popular restaurants in the area. Clap’s successful Beirut branch is temporarily closed due to the August 4th explosions and the pandemic. But the owners decided to bring its cutting-edge Japanese cuisine to Dubai on schedule anyway. Clap is scheduled to open another branch in Riyadh in the near future.

With 141 dishes on the menu, choosing what to eat isn’t easy. After whetting our appetites with some moreish spicy edamame, we selected several dishes from the ‘bites’ section of the menu: The grilled langoustine with its tangy sweet-and-sour tomato shiso salsa came with its split shell elegantly arranged, and the crispy rice topped with salmon — five bite-sized textural delights bursting with flavor thanks to the masago and spring-onion sauce, perfect for sharing. 

Next came a trio of raw dishes — scallop sashimi, sea bass sashimi, and wagyu beef tartare. The latter was the highlight; served on a bed of crispy nori chips and topped with gold leaf, the capers and the pickled cucumber added the perfect amount of acidity to cut through the buttery beef — a dish so flavorsome and diverse in texture it will have you returning to Clap for more.

Salmon crispy rice is served at Clap Dubai. (Supplied)

The sashimi was also delicious and a prime example of allowing premium ingredients to shine. This was especially the case with the scallops, with the avocado purée garnish highlighting their natural sweetness. The shrimp gyoza came highly recommended.

The griddled and steamed parcels held a delicate filling that was perfectly complemented by the accompanying sweet-and-sour tomato salsa. We ended the meal with a hijiki spicy tuna roll and the “Black Garden,” — the restaurant's signature vegetarian roll. While the former is a well-executed classic, the latter is a great example of how dishes that cater to diners with plant-based or gluten-free dietary requirements can still be packed with flavor.

It may be located amidst an already glittering A-list line-up of restaurants in DIFC, but Clap Dubai still stands out for the quality of its food, its ambiance, and its magical rooftop.